Saturday, 26 February 2011

: Preventable failures were 'immediate causes' of Deepwater disaster

Report: Preventable failures were 'immediate causes' of Deepwater disaster
Emergency responders attempt rescues after the Deepwater Horizon exploded in April 2010.
January 11th, 2011
10:32 AM ET
Several "specific and preventable human and engineering failures were the immediate causes" of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster last year, the presidentially appointed Oil Spill Commission said in its much-awaited report Tuesday .
The event "was almost the inevitable result of years of industry and government complacency and lack of attention to safety. This was indisputably the case with BP, Transocean, and Halliburton, as well as the government agency charged with regulating offshore drilling - the former Minerals Management Service," said commission co-chairman William K. Reilly.
"As drilling pushes into ever deeper and riskier waters where more of America's oil lies, only systemic reforms of both government and industry will prevent a similar, future disaster."
The report, "Deep Water: The Gulf Oil Disaster and the Future of Offshore Drilling," proposed "comprehensive" government and industry actions "to overhaul the U.S. approach to drilling safety and greatly reduce the chances of a similar, large scale disaster in the future."

On the Radar: Weather, oil spill report, Verizon iPhone, Arizona Mass
People enjoy the rare treat of sliding on snow Monday at Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Georgia.
January 11th, 2011
08:46 AM ET
Winter weather – A winter storm that covered much of the Southeast with snow and ice will move up the East Coast on Tuesday, forecasters said.
The National Weather Service predicted 5 to 8 inches of snow in the Philadelphia area, 4 inches or more in northern New Jersey, and 2 to 6 inches in southern Delaware from Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday morning.
Light to moderate sleet and ice accumulations are expected across parts of the Carolinas, according to the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center in Camp Springs, Maryland.
Although most of the wintry precipitation had left much of the South by Monday night, parts of the region are likely to see snow and ice on the ground until the weekend, as an Arctic low slides in, bringing low temperatures in the teens.
A year of exposure: Body scanners, online privacy, BP oil spill
December 15th, 2010
05:46 PM ET
Is 2010 the year America was exposed?
That's what The New Republic suggests in its latest issue, whose cover depicts Lady Liberty as she might appear to Transportation Security Administration agents if she were to pass through a body scanner in one of America's airports.
On the body scanner controversy, journalist Jeffrey Rosen writes that "protecting privacy isn’t something that the U.S. government has ever done well," compared with European counterparts, because U.S. privacy offices lack independence and regulatory mettle.
"And, while the Department of Homeland Security’s privacy office has broader legal authorities than most, it nevertheless failed to raise the obvious objections to the body scanners. That suggests the government needs a genuinely independent institution dedicated to protecting Americans’ privacy in order to avoid similar debacles in the future," Rosen writes.
And it's not just body scanners. Changes in Facebook's online privacy policy made users' personal profiles more vulnerable to public viewing, causing us to reexamine our notions of privacy. Google Street Views opened up our homes to anyone with a Web browser. And in corporate America, the Gulf Coast oil spillexposed BP's questionable maintenance practices and apparent inability to control such a spill.
What do you think? Was 2010 a turning point for privacy rights in America? Or just another year of passing tides? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.
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Filed under: BP • Facebook • Gulf Coast Oil Spill • Technology
Justice Department files suit over Deepwater Horizon oil disaster
December 15th, 2010
02:19 PM ET
The Justice Department has filed a civil lawsuit in New Orleans against nine defendants in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a statement from the department said Wednesday.
The suit asks the court for civil penalties under the Clean Water Act, and to declare eight of the defendants liable without limitations under the Oil Pollution Act for all removal costs and damages caused by the oil spill, including damages to natural resources, the statement said.
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Filed under: Courts • Gulf Coast Oil Spill • Justice • Lawsuit